The Sons of Katie Elder looks epic in the sweeping vistas of its Mexican locations and its large cast of characters, but it doesn’t feel epic in the scope of its story. Its two-hour length is more than enough to contain its narrative, with a solid twenty minutes to spare. It’s not a bad movie so much as a decent one that takes its sweet time getting to the point.
While this is technically a sequel to the original Planet of the Apes, it’s probably best described as a half-assed remake. This film basically recycles most of the macro-plot elements of the first film, only without much of the same wit, subtlety or substance.
Charleton Heston had the good sense to want to stay far away from this movie and only agreed to appear when the producers acceded to his request to kill his character and end the film in such a way to preclude any further sequels.
The Manchurian Candidate has always been in a class by itself among cold war political thrillers. Maybe it was just the mystique that came with being unavailable for so many years, but maybe it was the simply fact that this is a damn good movie. Smart and laced with liberal doses of McCarthy-era satire, The Manchurian Candidate still stands as the pinnacle of John Frankenheimer‘s directing career.